Dharma Pearls

Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Related Discourses

25. Gods

57. Crossing the Flood

1. Thus have I heard:[1] One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.

2. It was then that a god with a marvelous appearance visited the Buddha late at night. That god bowed at the Buddha’s feet and withdrew to sit to one side. The radiance of its body completely illuminated Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park and Jeta’s Grove.

3. That god then asked the Buddha, “Bhagavān! Monk, monk! Did you cross the flood?”

The Buddha said, “Yes, god.”

4. The god again asked, “Did you cross the flood without any support and no place to stand?”

The Buddha said, “Yes, god.”

5. The god again asked, “What do you mean, you crossed the flood without any support and no place to stand?”

6. The Buddha said, “God, when I held on again and again or moved forward again and again,[2] I wasn’t carried away by the water. When I didn’t hold on again and again and didn’t move forward again and again, I was carried away by the water. This, god, is called crossing the flood without any support and no place to stand.”

7. That god spoke again in verse:

8. When that god heard what the Buddha taught, he rejoiced and was delighted. He bowed to the Buddha’s feet and disappeared.

Notes

  1. This sūtra is parallel with SN 1.1, SĀ2 180, and T1579.378a7-11. [back]
  2. again and again. The Chinese literally reads “thus and thus held on” and “thus and thus moved forward”. Parallel expressions are found in a quotation of this sutra in the Yogâcārabhūmi (T1579.378a7-11), which in the Sanskrit version uses the expressions “yathā yathāhaṃ” and “tathā tathā.” I’ve translated both as subsequent attempts, rendering the expressions as “again and again,” but they could also mean in different ways, which I’d render as “in this way and that.” [back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 11 February 2021